Tullibody History Group

The History of Tullibody

Tullibody – One of the oldest villages in Scotland. We now know that the first peoples were living in this very area. Tullibody looked very different in those days as it was a peninsula, surrounded by water. The early people worshipped the sun and it is now known that Tullibody War Memorial stone formed part of a Druid Circle.

Tullibody House

Sadly, the smaller stones were removed in the late 1700s. We know very little about these early people but other areas of Scotland have found many artefacts showing that they hunted and gathered food from the land and sea.

On Braehead Golf Course, the greenkeepers found a shell midden. One of the few found on the north side of the Forth. It contained shell remains of mussels, scallops and cockles dating back to 4000BC

The Romans were in the area during the first few centuries AD and in fact there was a Roman camp and a ford across the Forth, along at Manor.
It is thought that St Serf first set up a church on the site of our present Auld Kirk in the 5th century when Christianity was brought over from Ireland. Folklore states that Kenneth McAlpine, King of Scots, amassed his army on Baingle Brae before he fought and subdued the Picts. Certainly there was a standing stone on the main road to Stirling (near the Catholic Church) until the early 1900s when it is then reported to have been demolished to make ready for the road upgrading !

David 1st of Scotland was responsible for Tullibody’s claim to fame when in 1149 he granted the lands and fishing rights to Cambuskenneth Abbey and it was then that The Auld Kirk was erected, where it still stands today. Until 1600 the religion was Cathlolic but then became Protestant. Tullibody has been served well, being the Parish Church until that time when it lost it’s celebrity status and Alloa took the title. The Abercrombys made The Auld Kirk their family vault.

Edward 1st, in his attempt to subdue the Scots in 1306 reportedly tried to build a castle in Tullibody, on the hill behind the Delph Pond. As it would have been of wooden construction, no one has ever found any proof.

The lands of Tullibody have been owned by wealthy landowners for centuries. The last being The Abercrombys. The Hays were around in 1368 and Egida Hay of Tullibody married Alexander Seton of Touch, Cambusbarron in the 1400s.

Robert Meldrum, Secretary of State for Scotland left in his will the lands of Tullibody to his nephew, George Abercromby in 1666, who was then resident in Menstrie Castle, with his father Alexander. This bequest was challenged in the High Court of Edinburgh in 1741, 2 and 3 by the Meldrum family, but the Abercrombys won.

The original village was a small hamlet around The Auld Kirk. George Abercromby moved it across the road to the south in the early 1800s due to the fact that houses were in a deplorable state. He appears to have carried out many improvements during his lifetime.

Agriculture, coal mining, distilling, brewing and tanning were the principal employments. Most people carried out small cottage industries which later developed into factories.
Cambus was a very busy port with coal being delivered to other towns. It also had three mills, one a saw mill and one a flour mill. Alexander Paterson commenced tanning and shoe making and so the Tannery evolved. This was later carried on by the Tullis family. The Knox family commenced the brewing industry, the Moubrays the Distillery. The Archibalds from Tullibody started up the woollen industry in Menstrie. James Donaldson originally from Tullibody was manager at the Devon Iron Works. The Galloways from Cambus were ship’s captains and the Cramb family were masons. There appears to have been no end of very talented people.

Others took the opportunity to emigrate to far flung places and we know quite a few of these people have made a mark in what they achieved.

William Burns Paterson, being one such man, who was responsible for forming what is now known as Alabama University. Robert Dick moved north to Thurso but changed the established thinking of eminent Geologists and Botanists of the mid 1800s.

It would be appalling not to mention Sir Ralph Abercromby who changed the face of British history in 1801 by reversing the French and Napoleonic takeover of all countries. Sir Ralph died several days later of his injuries and was shipped back to Malta where he is interred in St Elmo Fort. Sadly he does not seem to get the acclaim that he surely deserves by the British Establishment.
The village continued to grow and expanded in 1889 quite considerably, then again in the early 50s and 60s with the opening of Glenochil mine and of course the village has once again had a huge expansion, probably doubling the original size.
Tullibody was known for it’s long and high achievements in the scholastic domain and many of it’s pupils went on to become school teachers themselves. Mr Mc Gregor, Mr Martin and Mr Kinmond were well respected Head Teachers in the1800 and 1900s. The present ones are also well known for their care and high achievements in the four Primary schools of today. Miss Dawson was for 40 years Infant Head Teacher until 1928 and there are still one or two of our elderly residents who remember her to this day!
Despite huge expansion Tullibody today still retains it’s friendly and village atmosphere. We do not have a Maypole or a ham on a greasy pole at the Mayday Festivals anymore but it’s wonderful to see the hard work of a few that are trying to bring back the Gala Day.

The History Group have achieved much in it’s five years of inception. We have managed to save the War Memorial and money allocated from the Civic Pride Pot enabled the Council to clean up the vegetation and generally improve the whole area. Sadly it will never be what it was when first made in 1923.

The Community Council are now hopefully getting a grant to have commemorative stones laid to honour all soldiers from Tullibody who have lost their lives.
In 2001 we decided to approach Historic Scotland and the Council with regard to the state of the Auld Kirk. Phase one and two have already been completed and I am sure everyone will be pleased to see the finished result. Hopefully stage three will follow in the not too distant future.
In 2004 it was announced that the Tullibody By-Pass road was to be built. With that in mind the Group set about trying to find The Lady’s Well, which we did with the help of a water deviner Mike Cranfield from Dollar. Susan Mills and the Group excavated the well once we had found it and with the help of Marshalls and the Council there is now a path down to it.

The Heritage Centre was opened by George Reid, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament (A Tullibody Lad) in 2004 and we hope you will come along and take an interest in all the archive and history material available.

Why Tullibody ?

If you are wondering why the present village of Tullibody deserves a Heritage Centre then we hope that once you have visited us you will have found the answer. One can be forgiven for thinking that the village of today has nothing to offer in the way of history or heritage but nothing is further from the truth.

There is now proof that Neolithic peoples were in this very area, hunting and gathering food from the land and sea and worshipping the sun. One of the few shell middens on the north side of the Forth is to be found on the edge of Braehead Golf Course, and the present War Memorial is now known to be a Druid Cricle.

Recently a skeleton from the Iron Age and one form the Bronze Age were excavated in nearby Alloa by Susan Mills- Museam and Heritage Office for Clackmannanshire.

Tullibody was subjected to the aspirations and changes of the County Town Planners in the 1960s. Virtually all the original village (c1800) was destroyed and rebuilt, and once again in the 21st Century history has repeated itself with a huge expansion of housing.

It is therefore a very interesting detective story to research and record the village’s history. Many of the older people of the village have now sadly passed away and their stories were nearly lost, but not quite. Members of the History Group have been collecting archive and photographic material for several years and this is what we present to you with The Heritage Centre.

Come along and see the model village c1923, sit in The School Room and reflect on your school days or browse around the centre for general information.

We have census returns, information for the family historian and all the news (Tullibody/Cambus) form 1841 to the present day is being gathered at this present time and is continually being developed.

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Famous Sons

History of Tullibody

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